Jay Gatsby is the tragic hero in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, "The Great Gatsby." Gatsby exhibits characteristics of the classical definition of a tragic hero.
According to an analysis on the Sacramento State University website, a tragic hero is a character who is potentially heroic but who must suffer because of fate. Tragic heroes are ultimately destroyed by this struggle with fate, but their true condition is revealed as a result. Jay Gatsby is admired by all who meet him for his greatness. His passion and vivacity allow him to make the most of his hopes and dreams. However, he strives for the ideal to such an extent that he is blind to the imperfections of the goal that he seeks. His dream of being with Daisy is shattered, and his death symbolically reveals that the era of the American dream is over. The corruptibility of the American dream is the unavoidable cause of Gatsby's downfall.